Often when the word “criticism” is mentioned or used the accompanying association is generally a negative one.
Many attribute the manner and mode in which such reproach is delivered as the true determination of whether or not criticism is productive or poisonous. For the sake this piece, let’s focus on the former kind of criticism.
Constructive criticism should be repurposed and championed as a tool for motivation. The following reasons should offer some illumination:
1. It’s a rich form of communication
Typically, when an individual has some form of criticism; it means that they have reaction to something (you’ve done or are currently doing for them). This, in turn, offers a choice chance to learn more about the person who you’re working for and become intimately acquainted.
Ultimately, it also affords you the ability to transform them into an ally of some sort - a firmer friend, blissful boss or content customer.
2. It makes for a stronger output
In line with the point above, the more you know about someone or something (via feedback) the more you’re able to use that information to make a stronger person, product or service. If one reckons they’re always in the right and doesn’t receive feedback, how else would they know what they’re doing is right or wrong? How else would you give yourself the ability to grow?
3. Encourages introspection
This is by far one of the greatest benefits of criticism – it provides an encouraging environment for you to reflect and think, about how and why: how you work? Why you have a certain emotion? Constructive criticism encourages valuable self-examination. Taking that step back to reexamine things affords the gift of improvement, a better way of doing things or approaching a situation.
4. Offers a competitive advantage
If you objectively dissect good, bad or ugly criticism (I’m sure you’re thinking easier said than done, but hear me out) there is usually one or two nuggets of information that enables you to better understand the sender – at such an even intimate level.
This can be a prized insight to a company for instance; that is then able to fine-tune their product or service, making it better, and giving them the ammunition to overtake other competitors and assume a leadership position in their respective sector. As such, finding ways to get those bits of intelligence from customers is beneficial business imperative.
5. Affords a richer solution
In the response to criticism, remaining calm and using positive language can be a great way to elicit a solution. Again, this can be slightly difficult, but powering through one’s negative feelings can turn that dialogue into a solutions-based conduit. The contrary alternative hinders the pathway to such uncovering and breeds stagnation for all parties involved.
6. It is a character building exercise
By not taking feedback personally (if for instance someone doesn’t like your work, or even if the criticism is unfair) and not retaliating with some equally spiteful and knee-jerk comment, one ends up building self-restraint – which like patience is a rare gift and skill. It also stimulates initiative because one is principally focused on finding a solution rather than dwelling on the problem.
If none of these six points have convinced you as to why criticism should be seen as a force for good and worthwhile innovation, then think of criticism (virtuous or vitriolic) as you would sandpaper: it may scratch or rub you in the wrong way, but eventually, you’ll end up smooth and polished.
Become excited at the prospect of becoming a fine person (or having a spectacular product), as this is one of the pathways to increasing your emotional intelligence – you’ll not regret it!